Two ASEAN rising giants collide in the latest round of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, with Vietnam facing Malaysia. While Malaysia are currently placed third in the group with three points, Vietnam are fourth with just one, having played one match fewer than their rivals. Here’s how the two teams could line up today.
Vietnam are up against familiar foes in their latest 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier. The Golden Dragons last saw Malaysia in the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup, where the pair met in the final. On that occasion, Park Hang-seo’s men had gotten the better of their opponents and taken the trophy home with them.
The two were put together into the same group by Tim Cahill when the draw for the second round of qualifiers was made. Both teams have played at least once already but neither has been able to secure the perfect start. Vietnam are currently fourth in their group after securing a single point against Thailand in their opening match. The Golden Dragons did not play on matchday two and as a result, are still looking for their first win.
The 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup Champions are expected to line up in their preferred 3-4-3 formation, with Nguyen Anh Duc leading the line. Nguyen Quang Hai and Nguyen Van Toan are likely to start beside him in a front three.
The usual back three consists of Que Ngoc Hai, Do Duy Manh, and Bui Tien Dung, with all three expected to retain their position, while Nguyen Phong Hong Duy and Nguyen Trong Hoang are expected to play as wingbacks. Nguyen Tuan Anh and Do Hung Dung could be picked to start in the centre of the park.
Unlike their Southeast Asian neighbours, Malaysia have been in action on both matchdays of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers so far. Harimau Malaya secured a stunning three-two win over Indonesia on Matchday 1 before falling to a narrow defeat to the United Arab Emirates on Matchday 2.
One man who has been in stellar form during this time is Syafiq Ahmad. The Johor Darul Ta’zim star played as the central attacking midfielder in both the previous matches and scored one goal in each. Furthermore, he recently netted a hattrick in a six-one friendly win over Sri Lanka and is likely to start once more against Vietnam.
Accompanying Syafiq in attack could be Safawi Rasid, with the tricky winger starting on the left-hand side. Mohamadou Sumareh, who bagged two goals, including the winner, in the win over Indonesia is likely to start on the right with Norshahrul Idlan Talaha leading the line.
Behind the attacking quartet, a double pivot of Brendan Gan and Akram Mahinan is likely to be deployed by Tan Cheng Hoe. Furthermore, the Malaysia head coach is expected to send out his preferred back four of La’Vere Corbin-Ong, Shahrul Saad, Aidil Zafuan, and Matthew Davies to play ahead of goalkeeper Farizal Marlias.
The match between Vietnam and Malaysia is scheduled to start at 9 PM, SGT. You can follow the build-up and all the updates via our live blog on foxsportsasia.com.